Tonight I saw a book exchange right in the middle of the city. It’s in the Hyde Park neighborhood, just a few blocks from Obama’s mansion, so as you might expect, there is an outstanding local supermarket nearby that carries arigula, not to mention Jarlsberg cheese. This is also where you will find Binny’s Express , a tiny hole-in-the-wall liquor store that carries Stone’s ginger wine (it took me three weeks to find this product locally-indispensable for marinating fish) as well as three brands of Australian port (the reason for today’s mission in the neighborhood in the first place) and an entire shelf of single malt scotch. By shelf, I mean five or six feet long and maybe five feet high. Yes, they have Speyside’s Cragganmore.
And there are bookstores. For new books, there is the Seminary Coop Bookstore and its smaller branch on 57th street, but even better are the used books at the Antiquarian, where I once found a copy of the two-volume compact OED in its slipcase, complete with magnifying glass, and Powell’s, open until 11:00 p.m., as a bookstore should be.